Planning & Motivating for Fitness Success


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This is a good time to talk about planning and motivation. The January rush to get to the gym and get back into shape is slowing. The New Year’s resolutions are waning and many have already given up. Many of your personal training clients came to you with the best intentions of exercising, eating healthy and improving their lifestyle. How many are still going? “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” Planning and motivation go hand in hand. It is critically important that during your initial Client Consult and Assessment (Phase I of the IFPA Personal Training Process) you not only determine your client’s precise goals, you must also determine what caused your client to fail in previous attempts to achieve their fitness goals. This enables you to plan “Interventions” to keep your client on track! “No matter how far you have gone down the wrong path… turn back!” Your clients will have a wide variety of goals. Do you have a plan to keep reminding them of their goals, or how to keep them on the right path or get them back on the path when they have side tracked? Keeping your clients on the path or getting them back on the path may be your biggest challenge and therefore, your biggest opportunity. “The Chinese symbol for crisis is the combination of their symbols for danger and opportunity” For personal trainers and their clients everywhere, staying motivated is everyone’s biggest problem. The real secret to becoming a successful personal trainer is to become a successful problem solver. Find a solution to every problem. For example: -Client cancels training session because they forgot gym bag, shoes, towel, lock or pre-workout make-up kit (just kidding ladies!) Solution: Next session, provide them a 8”x11” sign that says, “Remember Gym Bag!” in big bold print and a checklist of everything that they need in the gym bag along with instructions to pack it the night before and place it at the front door “Under your sign!” -Client complains they get very hungry at night before sleep and crave their favorite foods. Solution:Have them eat an apple or consume 8 oz. of orange juice then ask them to wait 20 minutes before giving in to their craving. Feel free to explain why this works as you learned in the IFPA Sports Nutrition Consultant certification course. -Client is losing motivation to exercise. Solution 1: Change the Program Design (Phase 4 of the IFPA Personal Training process): Frequency, Intensity, Time (Volume) & Type (Mode). Solution 2: Arrange “Intervention: consult: Discuss reasons, goals and outcomes for them to stay on path. Lack of motivation can be a sign of over-training. -Client gets injured. Solution 1: Rule #1 for IFPA Certified Personal Trainers is DO NO HARM! Phase 5 of the IFPA Personal Training Process is Exercise Management (developed to prevent injuries). If you follow all the Safety Guidelines, Key Teaching Points for each exercise and the Biomechanics Principles you learned throughout the IFPA Personal Training certification course and in the “Book of Personal Training”, you should rarely, if ever, have a client sustain an injury. Injuries can occur as a result of over-training. Solution 2: Work around injury. Injured knee means you focus on upper body exercises and assist with rehab on the injury until client returns to normal. Injured shoulder- cease all exercises that result in pain or discomfort and focus on other joint movements. -Client has to leave for travel. Solution: Provide the client with a “Travel Plan”. Make a list of exercises, sets/reps, work and rest intervals, cardio, etc., for the client when they are gone and set an appointment for when they return. Provide “Body Weight” or aerobic exercises if equipment is not available. Keep in touch by email or Skype. -Client complains that changes are not happening fast enough. Solution: Determine if complaint is physical or psychological. Phase 1: The Client Consult & Assessment. Phase 2: Fitness Testing of the IFPA personal training process are used to determine the client’s current fitness status for all ten IFPA Components of Fitness (CoF); Strength, Speed, Power, Anaerobic Endurance, Aerobic Endurance, Agility, Balance, Coordination, Flexibility and Body Composition. The Client Consult will determine which of the ten IFPA- CoF you will focus your Phase 3: Exercise Prescription. You should also determine realistic expectations which are determined from data collected in Phase 2: Fitness Testing. If the complaint is psychological, reference the client back to Phase 1 & 2. If the client’s complaint is physical you should address Phase 6: Exercise Physiology or Phase 7: Sports Nutrition Education. Many of your complaints will be about not losing weight and more correctly, not losing fat fast enough. This would be a complaint about the CoF of Body Composition, though contributions to fat loss also come from CoF: Strength (Building Lean Body Tissue to Increase Metabolism to BURN FAT!), Anaerobic and Aerobic Endurance and Flexibility. All of which contribute to fat burning. If you are like most personal trainers, it takes some effort and expense to WIN a new client. Now you need to become a successful problem solver in order to become a successful personal trainer. Best regards, Dr. Jim Bell, CEO IFPA

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